2016 Predictions for the Background Screening Industry

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP
January 26 2016
As the first month of 2016 comes to a close, we have collected thoughts from some industry leaders as to what we might expect in background screening this year. Legal issues will continue to pop up, and screening providers will work hard to improve compliance policies and procedures to better protect consumers, clients, and themselves.
Our predictions:

1. Background screeners will get smarter.

Both companies that are not yet accredited and companies that are will have to beef up their compliance processes and procedures to avoid litigation.  

2. More acquisition.

Small screeners are severely impacted by lawsuits and settlements, and larger firms will swoop in to acquire the business and its clients.  

3. Fewer federal lawsuits, more work for state courts.

If there is no “injury in fact,” there is no federal court jurisdiction for a claim under the FCRA and these lawsuits will end up in state courts. See Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins.  

4. FCRA 1681e(b) ambiguity will come under heavy fire.

The legislation requires CRA’s follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information concerning the individual about whom the report relates, but it does not specify how “reasonable” can be defined.  

5. EEOC will focus on punishing discrimination.

Hiring processes that disparately impact any protected population’s attainment of gainful employment will be scrutinized in court for job relatedness and consistency with business necessity.  

6. Federal Ban-the-Box law will be proposed.

President Obama has only recently directed the Federal Government to remove the criminal history box on government applications, and that kind of nationwide press will incite other municipalities to pass similar measures until enough traction is reached for a nationwide law is proposed.  

7. The ‘Sharing Economy’ will see more regulation.

The increasing popularity of the “sharing economy” and of incidents involving “contract employees” will encourage legislation requiring comprehensive background checks on all contractors, both at the onset of the partnership as well as at annual intervals.  

8. Increase in worker transience, staffing agencies.

Background screening providers will vie for the attentions of large staffing firms, and established firms will attempt to acquire smaller, pop-up companies and their clients as workers increase their movements.  

9. Web portals will overtake integrated software.

In 2016, we will see a shift away from integration and toward web-based portals as providers turn to the global constant, the internet, to connect with and provide services to their customers.  

10. Drug testing, employers that ignore marijuana.

Drug testing companies will create tests that don’t include marijuana and private employers in decriminalized states will begin to ignore marijuana-positive results in their search for candidates, should the presence of the substance fail to impact the performance of job duties.  

11. Post-hire screening will increase.

Post-hire screening will become an important process of the employee lifecycle as it provides a measure of company protection against litigation due to employee behaviors that may change over time.  

12. A new agreement forged in the wake of dismantling EU Safe Harbor.

The US and EU must come to an agreement and detail a plan for better protecting data, as US businesses may be subject to legal action taken by applicants whose information has travelled internationally.  

Knowing When to Change

The legal landscape can always be expected to change as lawmakers work to refine or expand interpretations of various federal, state, and local laws. Social issues can also hugely impact the background screening industry, as evidenced by fairly recent Ban-the-Box laws and marijuana litigation. When change is constant, it’s nice to know that your background screening provider stays up-to-date with the latest employment and screening issues. As an experienced and accredited screening provider, you can trust that InfoMart has your best interests, and the protection of your consumers, at heart.

About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record. To learn more about Tammy, visit

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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